Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Leslie A. Lyons
Gilbreath-McLorn Endowed Professor of Comparative Medicine

  • Ph.D. 1991, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health – Human Genetics
  • M.S. 1987, University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Public Health – Human Genetics
  • B.S. 1985, University of Pittsburgh - Biochemistry


Building Address: E109 Vet Med Building
Phone Number: 573-882-9777
Lab Website:
Facebook: Lyons Feline Genetics Lab
Lyons Lab and 99 Lives Donations (MU GiveDirect)

Research Emphasis: Dr. Lyons’ long-standing research focuses on domestic cat genetics, particularly developing biomedical models. Her genetic interests are broad, not focusing on any one disease, including various health concerns and all organs systems. Her laboratory has identified over 30 mutations in over 25 genes including 21 diseases, cat AB / B blood type (2) and recently 2 diseases in wild felids. Dr. Lyons launched the 99 Lives Cat Genome Sequencing Initiative – an effort to have deep coverage on cats with inherited diseases and as a SNP resource for the community. During her tenure at the NCI, she worked closely with theriogenologists to produce a feline interspecies backcross between domestic cats and Asian Leopard cats (Bengal cats) as a gene mapping resource, which are now useful for phasing of whole genome assemblies. She continues to support assisted reproduction studies in cats and she has cryopreserved many cat biomedical models. Dr. Lyons works closely with veterinarians to firstly define genetic diseases. The veterinarians and clinicians then become partners in the genetic studies. She typically collaborates with veterinarians and clinicians around the world and publishes in veterinary and genetics journals and especially journals that focus on organ systems. Specific diseases remain of high priority, including polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and heritable blindness. She looks forward to developing drug and gene therapies and translational efforts, for one or more of these abnormalities to better develop the cat as an animal model for human disease. At UC Davis, Dr. Lyons had a partial research position at the California National Primate Research Center, producing 13 manuscripts via independent and collaborative studies. She has produced seven publications on forensics, over a dozen papers with significant disease defining and clinical components, six projects supporting reproductive studies, worked with over ten different species and analyzed mtDNA from cat mummies as part of a National Geographic Explore production – The Science of Cats.

Teaching Responsibilities:

Dr. Lyons mentors and trains undergraduate and graduate students in various MU programs. Paid, for credit and volunteer research internships are available through the Lyons Laboratory.


Pre-Veterinary Medicine (PVM) and AgScholars Programs -

Veterinary Students:

Veterinary Research Scholars Program -

Graduate Students:

Doctor of Philosophy

Genetics Area Program -
Pathobiology Area Program -
Animal Sciences -

Master’s of Science / Public Health:

Biomedical Sciences with emphasis in Veterinary Sciences –

Online MS Program -

Master’s of Public Health with emphasis in Veterinary Public Health –

Animal Sciences -


Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Sciences -

Lyons Laboratory Bibliography:

Publications of the things we do find links here -

  1. Yu, Y., et al., Kidney and cystic volume imaging for disease presentation and progression in the cat autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease large animal model. BMC Nephrol, 2019. 20(1): p. 259.
  2. Yu, Y., R.A. Grahn, and L.A. Lyons, Mocha tyrosinase variant: a new flavour of cat coat coloration. Anim Genet, 2019. 50(2): p. 182-186.
  3. Torres, J.A., et al., Ketosis Ameliorates Renal Cyst Growth in Polycystic Kidney Disease. Cell Metab, 2019.
  4. Mattucci, F., et al., Genomic approaches to identify hybrids and estimate admixture times in European wildcat populations. Sci Rep, 2019. 9(1): p. 11612.
  5. Jaffey, J.A., et al., Clinical, metabolic, and genetic characterization of hereditary methemoglobinemia caused by cytochrome b5 reductase deficiency in cats. J Vet Intern Med, 2019.
  6. Hart, L.A., et al., Affectionate Interactions of Cats with Children Having Autism Spectrum Disorder. Front Vet Sci, 2018. 5: p. 39.
  7. Gandolfi, B., et al., Applications and efficiencies of the first cat 63K DNA array. Sci Rep, 2018. 8(1): p. 7024.
  8. Oh, A., et al., Early-Onset Progressive Retinal Atrophy Associated with an IQCB1 Variant in African Black-Footed Cats (Felis nigripes). Sci Rep, 2017. 7: p. 43918.
  9. Mauler, D.A., et al., Precision medicine in cats: novel Neimann-Pick Type 1 diagnosed by whole genome sequencing. J Vet Intern Med, 2017. 2: p. 539-544.
  10. Gustafson, N.A., B. Gandolfi, and L.A. Lyons, Not another type of potato: MC1R and the russet coloration of Burmese cats. Anim Genet, 2017. 48(1): p. 116-120.
  11. Aberdein, D., et al., A FAS-ligand variant associated with autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome in cats. Mamm Genome, 2017. 28(1-2): p. 47-55.
  12. Stroud, C., et al., A One Health overview, facilitating advances in comparative medicine and translational research. Clin Transl Med, 2016. 5(Suppl 1): p. 26.
  13. Mattucci, F., et al., European wildcat populations are subdivided into five main biogeographic groups: consequences of Pleistocene climate changes or recent anthropogenic fragmentation? Ecol Evol, 2016. 6(1): p. 3-22.
  14. Lyons, L.A., et al., Aristaless-Like Homeobox protein 1 (ALX1) variant associated with craniofacial structure and frontonasal dysplasia in Burmese cats. Dev Biol, 2016. 409(2): p. 451-8.
  15. Lyons, L.A., et al., Whole genome sequencing in cats, identifies new models for blindness in AIPL1 and somite segmentation in HES7. BMC Genomics, 2016. 17: p. 265.
  16. Li, G., et al., A High-Resolution SNP Array-Based Linkage Map Anchors a New Domestic Cat Draft Genome Assembly and Provides Detailed Patterns of Recombination. G3 (Bethesda), 2016. 6(6): p. 1607-16.
  17. LeRoy, M.L., et al., Clinical and histologic description of Lykoi cat hair coat and skin. . Japanese Journal of Veterinary Dermatology, 2016. 22(3): p. 179-191.
  18. Keating, M.K., et al., Characterization of an Inherited Neurologic Syndrome in Toyger Cats with Forebrain Commissural Malformations, Ventriculomegaly and Interhemispheric Cysts. J Vet Intern Med, 2016. 30(2): p. 617-26.
  19. Gandolfi, B., et al., A Novel Variant in CMAH Is Associated with Blood Type AB in Ragdoll Cats. PLoS One, 2016. 11(5): p. e0154973.
  20. Gandolfi, B., et al., A dominant TRPV4 variant underlies osteochondrodysplasia in Scottish fold cats. Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 2016. 24(8): p. 1441-50.
  21. Brooks, A., et al., SNP Miniplexes for Individual Identification of Random-Bred Domestic Cats. J Forensic Sci, 2016. 61(3): p. 594-606.
  22. Arcieri, M., et al., Establishing a database of Canadian feline mitotypes for forensic use. Forensic Sci Int Genet, 2016. 22: p. 169-74.
  23. Pollard, R.E., et al., Japanese Bobtail: vertebral morphology and genetic characterization of an established cat breed. J Feline Med Surg, 2015. 17(8): p. 719-26.
  24. Ofri, R., et al., Characterization of an Early-Onset, Autosomal Recessive, Progressive Retinal Degeneration in Bengal Cats. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2015. 56(9): p. 5299-308.
  25. Malik, R., et al., Periodic hypokalaemic polymyopathy in Burmese and closely related cats: a review including the latest genetic data. J Feline Med Surg, 2015. 17(5): p. 417-26.
  26. Gandolfi, B., et al., COLQ variant associated with Devon Rex and Sphynx feline hereditary myopathy. Anim Genet, 2015. 46(6): p. 711-5.
  27. Gandolfi, B., et al., A Novel Mutation in CLCN1 Associated with Feline Myotonia Congenita. PLoS One, 2014. 9(10): p. e109926.
  28. Kurushima, J.D., et al., Variation of cats under domestication: genetic assignment of domestic cats to breeds and worldwide random-bred populations. Anim Genet, 2013. 44(3): p. 311-24.
  29. Gandolfi, B., et al., A splice variant in KRT71 is associated with curly coat phenotype of Selkirk rex cats. Sci Rep, 2013. 3: p. 2000.
  30. Gandolfi, B., et al., To the Root of the Curl: A Signature of a Recent Selective Sweep Identifies a Mutation That Defines the Cornish Rex Cat Breed. PLoS One, 2013. 8(6): p. e67105.
  31. Alhaddad, H., et al., Extent of linkage disequilibrium in the domestic cat, Felis silvestris catus, and its breeds. PLoS One, 2013. 8(1): p. e53537.
  32. Kurushima, J.D., et al., Cats of the Pharaohs: Genetic Comparison of Egyptian Cat Mummies to their Feline Contemporaries. J Archaeol Sci, 2012. 39(10): p. 3217-3223.
  33. Gandolfi, B., et al., First WNK4-hypokalemia animal model identified by genome-wide association in Burmese cats. PLoS One, 2012. 7(12): p. e53173.



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